This blog has been a long while in the making – originally as a result of someone I know having to do something difficult in order to protect a child. It had to wait though – I needed to let the dust settle so that perhaps people wouldn’t add two and two together and get four. Not my battle to pick, so I needed to tread carefully.
Fast forward, and today I switched on my laptop, logged into Facebook and saw that someone had reacted to a post I’d shared back in November. This was a birthday message for my Auntie who, by a neat coincidence, is probably the embodiment of integrity. My post commented on the fact that it was she who told me that my mum’s cancer was terminal, and prepared me for what was to come. It also said that it was my aunt who enabled my mum’s lost son to get in touch with her again, so that she could see the man he had become.
The person who reacted to my post today is my half-brother’s adopted sister (my cousin, I guess). We’re not facebook friends, however since she’s friends with my aunt on Facebook, she can see, react to and comment on the post. She has chosen to hit the ‘angry’ button, although obviously I don’t know why, and there could be many reasons.
My first reaction was one of puzzled anger: what does she have to be angry for? What (or who) is she angry at? That I have publicly talked about this elephant in the room that for so many years wasn’t acknowledged let alone talked about? That our grandparents visited this monstrous situation on us all, and caused so much pain? I really wanted to go and comment on the status, but I’m not sure what that would solve, and if she’s angry at my mentioning it on Facebook, then I don’t want to be responsible for unleashing an argument over my aunt’s head.
So. I hope I’ve acted with integrity. Least said, soonest mended. Don’t make things worse, don’t make a show of yourself, don’t rock the boat. Deny your feelings so that those of others can be protected.
Definition 2: The state of being whole and undivided
Yet the pain and anxiety this little action has caused me probably reveals more about my feelings than it does about hers. I have long since reconciled myself to the events surrounding meeting my half-brother, accepting him into my life and then ultimately losing him again. Things were done and said that have taken a lifetime’s reflection to come to terms with and accept.
Yet someone hitting the ‘angry’ button on Facebook has brought back the sense of injustice, outrage and horror at what my mum went through. The pain makes me want to lash out, but I know this won’t make me whole and undivided. Perhaps some things are best left well alone, and I hope that my sense of integrity will help me to leave this, walk away and silently pay homage to my mum’s ability to make peace with the world and her religion, and forgive the extreme punishment meted out to her.
Mum paid a high price for her mistakes, but perhaps now it needs to be laid to rest so that we can get on with the rest of our lives. So instead, I’ve written this blogpost. If you know me, I’d be happy to talk about this, but I won’t be sharing this post or publicising it.
What’s the most passive aggressive act: hitting the ‘angry’ button but not communicating with the person to tell them why you’re angry, or writing a blogpost about it but not talking to the person who has provoked the reaction.
I’m not sure either of those actions are the mark of a person acting with integrity.